SUBARU WRX 2014 – 2018

2014 Subaru WRX

2014 Subaru WRX

Subaru’s WRX, aka ‘the Rex’, is a moderately-priced high-performance Japanese machine that has been a huge success in Australia since it first arrived here in 1994.

The WRX has tremendous performance from its turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine. Grunt that’s backed up by excellent road grip thanks to a sophisticated all-wheel drive system.

Some felt that the WRX lost some of its in-your-face personality in the early 2000s, but the MY2015 edition launched in March 2014, revived its bad-boy attitude. Models from that period are the subject of this week’s used car review.

This gen-four WRX is powered by a 2.0-litre flat-four in the standard car and a 2.5-litre in the STI. The body was larger and more spacious. It was

significantly stiffer to further improve road grip and provide added comfort.

For the 2018 season, launched in Oz in July 2017, the biggest news was a new range topping model – the WRX STI spec.R. It featured Recaro seats amongst other items.

2016 Subaru WRX

2016 Subaru WRX

A facelift saw the indicator lights were moved inside the headlights and the style of the front bumper and foglight bezels revised. The blacked out opening in the lower grille is larger and Subaru tells us the shape also helps promote cooling capability.

All WRX models gained Jurid performance brake pads; red painted brake callipers (front-only in automatics); new design 18-inch alloy wheels; heated door mirrors; and LED foglights.

The revised suspension included re-rated suspension coils and dampers for flatter cornering with no loss in ride comfort.

A 5.9-inch Multi-Function Display replaced the 4.3-inch unit and also improved the definition.

There were no engine or transmission changes.

The WRX STI added Yellow Brembo six-pot front and two-pot rear brake callipers; cross-drilled brake rotors, and 19-inch alloys.

Turbo lag can be frustrating at times in all WRX engines, so take it for a decent drive on your favourite bit of winding road to see how the throttle response suits your preferences. Control freaks, such as your author, dislike like turbo lag, but once the engine is in its full-grunt period we forgive the delay and enjoy the superb push in the back.

 2016 Subaru WRX STI

2016 Subaru WRX STI

Automatic transmissions can improve the feel of the turbo lag as they keep the engine on boost thanks to the faster gearchanges. Then again, I don’t like autos in this sort of car. Your call.


Subaru is long established in Australia and has a well-regarded dealer network. One that’s widespread and often found in comparatively remote areas, not a common feature amongst Asian imports.

Don’t even consider buying a Subaru WRX without picking up that phone or computer mouse and checking on insurance costs. These can be frightening, all the more so if you are a young or inexperienced driver living in a region that’s deemed high risk.

A Subaru dealer may be able to put you in touch with reasonable insurance companies, but it’s still wise to do some of your own research.

Similarly, routine servicing and repairs aren’t the cheapest around, primarily because this is a complex semi-competition machine that requires a trained mechanic.

Have a full professional inspection of any WRX before buying the car. These are complex machines that often lead a hard life.

Run your hands in and out across the tyres. More resistance in one direction mean either hard cornering or suspension misalignment – or both.

Check for crash repairs and if there’s any doubt at all arrange for a panel beater to check it over completely and give you a quote.

Listen for a turbo whine, some sound is normal, too much could mean expensive problems. Take a few different cars for a run and you will get a feel for what is normal.

Be wary of a WRX that has been used as a traffic-light dragster – or even an amateur rally car.

Check the condition of the clutch by by depressing the pedal quickly without taking your foot off the accelerator then immediately re-engaging it. Slow takeup means there may be a problem.

The clutch is deliberately designed to be the weakest component in the transmission, a bit like a fuse in electrical circuits – to protect more expensive mechanical items. But don’t assume that a good clutch means there are no other troubles.

Look for oil smoke from the exhaust in a car that has been idling for a while and is then accelerated hard. This could indicate general engine wear.

Look over the interior and be suspicious of any car that has modifications such as extra gauges and sports seats.

The standard trim stands up pretty well to wear and tear, but it’s smart to give it a good once over.

Exepct to pay from $16,000 to $23,000 for a 2014 Subaru WRX; $19,000 to $26,000 for a 2014 STi; $22,000 to $30,000 for a 2017 WRX; $24,000 to $32,000 for a 2015 STi or a 2016 WRX Premium; $28,000 to $37,000 for a 2018 WRX Premium; $31,000 to $43,000 for a 2016 STi Premium or a 2017 STi Spec-R; $34,000 to $45,000 for a 2018 STi Spec-R.

Looking at a car that appeals because of its bad-boy image? We admire your attitude, but make sure you get a good one that hasn’t been thrashed.

RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at:

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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